Behind the scenes at Goodwood Revival's wardrobe department

PIcture: Dominic James
PIcture: Dominic James

For this year’s Revival the 1960s will be big. And with the Victoria and Albert museum in London currently hosting an exhibition on fashion designer and icon Mary Quant it seems the swinging 60s is back in a big way.

“It was the birth of the teenager,” Sue O’Donoghue, theatre and costume curator at Goodwood explains.
“The kids decided they didn’t want to dress like their parents any more, they were telling people we are in control and we are going to do what we want.
“Before the 1960s the teenager didn’t really exist, but women threw aside their pearl twin sets and instead went for shift dresses and trouser suits.”

Picture: Nigel Harniman

Picture: Nigel Harniman

For Goodwood Revival people dress up in clothes ranging from 1948 to 1966, and Sue says the 1960s is quite an easy look to recreate.
“You don’t have to spend a lot of money if you don’t want to either,” she says.
“It can simply be pairing items you already have in your wardrobe - a shift dress with ballet pumps, throw on a cardigan, back comb your hair, add a hair band and you already have that 1960s feel. Or add a beret.”

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The key shoe for the period had a square toe and block heel and Sue comments that she finds it quite hard to find original shoes from the era.
“I think it is because it was the start of things being mass produced so I don’t think the quality is as good, which means things wouldn’t have lasted.”

Designers such as Mary Quant, YSL, Pierre Cardin, Foale and Tuffin, and Jean Varon (who later designed under his own name John Bates), gave women more freedom with what they could wear by introducing the mini skirt and trouser suits for women.
“The sixties were just simple and fun,” smiles Sue.
“There were so many prints and really vibrant colours. When I walk down the rail of the 1960s clothes I have it just makes me smile. It was after the war where fabric wasn’t rationed so there was a lot more creativity and freedom.
“It was also good as there were styles for everyone. If you were a little curvy you could wear A-Line dresses but if you were narrow and slim like Twiggy you could wear a short shift dress with no sleeves.”

Picture: Dominic James

Picture: Dominic James

For men it can be just as simple. Sue suggests a black turtle neck with a chain with black jeans or trousers.
“I find it quite hard locating authentic t-shirts. I have a white one I just got that looks simple but when you take a closer look you can tell it is authentic.
“I also bought a floral shirt with a matching floral tie, it is mental but looks great. A floral shirt is great for that 60s feel.
“You can even go flamboyant with a cravat or chiffon scarf.”

Alongside adding to her collection Sue has also designed the sets at Revival including the birth of the mini skirt at festival ‘Youth Quake’ in 1965.
“The designers at the time were treated like rock stars,” reveals Sue. “I managed to find two of my heroes who were a part of it all, Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin, and invited them to Goodwood.
“I was completely starstruck as I had to look after them all day.
“They loved the display but they said that the girls were too smiley .
“They said that at the time women realised that they were strong and could do as they wanted. So rather than be all girly girly with the men they would stare them out. It was fantastic.”

They just kept saying as we took pictures they wouldn’t be smiling.”
Sue buys many of her items from eBay and Kerry Taylor auctions but she says that this time of year Goodwood’s local charity shops are a great place to head.
“A lot keep their vintage items back but you can always find something that will fit in the sixties feel,” she says.

With the countdown to Revival in full swing the only question now is what are you going to wear?

Picture: Chris Ison

Picture: Chris Ison

What is the difference between retro and vintage?
“Retro is something in the style of but made now,” reveals Sue.
“So when we have outfits made for our staff such as the 1960s dresses because we need so many of them wearing the same thing, we get our seamstress to make loads of the same dress, that is retro.
“Vintage is when something has been made in the era it was intended for, so a dress from the 1950s for the 1950s in that style.
“I have two dresses from the 1960s that were hired for the film Made in Dagenham that are perfect examples of being a 1960s style dress we would all recognise.”

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Revival is set from 1948 until 1966 when the motor circuit opened and this year takes place from Friday, September 13 until Sunday, September 15.
“We don’t do 1967 and we don’t do 1947. We are very strict,” smiles Sue.
“Duke of Richmond always says that Revival has grown and become the event it is now because of the people that come here. They were the ones who started to dress up, the Duke of Richmond saw the potential and it grew from there with the staff and actors getting involved.
“The thing is with Revival you can only get bigger and better...”
Sue dresses about 270 actors and 200 staff at the event.

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